Arts

Television
1:08 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

'Getting On' With It: A New HBO Show Doesn't Tiptoe Around Death

Alex Borstein (left) and Niecy Nash star as nurses in the HBO comedy series Getting On, which was modeled after the hit BBC series of the same name.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:01 pm

When they set out to create the HBO series Getting On, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer wanted to create a different kind of workplace comedy — one that celebrated the workplace and the employees in it.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Book News: 'It's Kind Of A Funny Story' Author Mourned

Ned Vizzini
Sabra Embury HarperCollins Children's Books/PR Newswire

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Television
4:57 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Grab Some Tea And Binge View British TV Dramas

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 7:00 am

British dramas, mostly from BBC America, have become gold mines of binge viewing for American TV fans seeking a deep dive into compelling series. Gillian Anderson's The Fall, David Tennant's Broadchurch and Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock are just a few of the series which offer hours of escape.

Games & Humor
2:28 am
Mon December 23, 2013

David Sedaris Reads From His 'Santaland Diaries'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 7:00 am

You might not expect "Santa's Helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992.

Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition. Click the "Listen" link above to hear Sedaris read his tale.

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Weekends On All Things Considered Podcast
6:54 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

A Pinball Monopoly, Camel Trekking In Texas, Charles Dickens' Mistress

  • A Pinball Monopoly, Camel Trekking In Texas, Charles Dickens' Mistress

This week on the podcast, we meet a tour guide leading camels through the wilderness, and a pinball manufacturer who wants to shake up his industry.

Plus, DJ Bettos Arcos plays some Christmas music from south of the border.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
4:00 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

Picture Books With A 'Clash Bash' Of Culture For Kids

Marisol McDonald is the main character in two of Monica Brown's bilingual picture books. The inspiration for the books came from Brown's own upbringing.
Illustrated by Sara Palacios Courtesy of Lee & Low

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 9:54 am

Millions of Americans speak a language other than English at home, and many of them are young children. Picture books are starting to reflect this diversity.

Monica Brown has written more than a dozen children's picture books with text in both English and Spanish. Raised bilingually by a South American mother and North American father, she says her inspiration comes from her own upbringing.

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All Tech Considered
1:58 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

Museums Give Video Games Bonus Life, But The Next Level Awaits

Flower, a 2009 release from thatgamecompany, is one of two video games the Smithsonian American Art Museum has acquired for its permanent collection.
Sony Entertainment/Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 8:36 am

The long-running debate over whether video games constitute art may finally be moot — at least as far as the Smithsonian American Art Museum is concerned. Last week, SAAM acquired two video games, Halo 2600 and Flower, for its permanent collection.

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Arts & Life
9:05 am
Sun December 22, 2013

How To Find A Worthy Volunteer Job On The Road

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 1:33 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Volunteering while traveling isn't really a novelty anymore. But sometimes that work you're doing, say, in a developing country, well, it could be doing more harm than good. On this week's travel segment, Winging It, we look at what it means to travel ethically.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Interviews
9:05 am
Sun December 22, 2013

What A Top Gun Learned On Her Way To The Top Of The Pentagon

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 1:33 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to hear now from the woman charged with streamlining the Pentagon's roughly $700 billion annual budget.

CHRISTINE FOX: We have to curb the growth of the compensation of our force. It's grown 40 percent above inflation over the last decade. And it's fully half of our budget. So, we have to slow the growth.

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Sunday Puzzle
7:05 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Follow Santa Claus' Lead

NPR

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 1:33 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which, like Santa Claus, the first word starts with the letters S-A, and the second word starts with C.

Last week's challenge from listener Pete Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich.: Name an island in which some of the letters appear more than once. Drop exactly two instances of each repeated letter. The remaining letters can be rearranged to name something to eat. What is it?

Answer: Manhattan, ham

Winner: Fred Stadler of Oshkosh, Wis.

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Three Books...
6:03 am
Sun December 22, 2013

In Search Of Identity: Three Of 2013's Best Translated Novels

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:15 am

I tend to like my heroes strong and capable; not self-important, yet with a certain brand of assurance. But in literature, as in life, profound truths often come to us not through confidence but through wrestling — through the quest for who we are and what we hope to become. Three newly-translated novels star not exceptionally robust heroes but unexceptional, aimless ones, each exploring the inward struggles that make us human.

These three international voices offer no barrage of answers. Instead, they remind us of the importance, and the power, of simply asking the questions.

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Book Reviews
4:11 am
Sun December 22, 2013

'The Empty Chair' Meditates On The Space Between Two Stories

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:47 pm

Working in radio, you learn one uncomfortable truth faster than you would have otherwise: Few things make a story more difficult to tell than having a listener expecting to hear it. A microphone can make even the most relentless gabber stammer and become self-conscious.

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The Salt
4:10 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Flying This Holiday? Here Are A Few Tips To Survive Airline Food

Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast suggests saucy pastas over meat: "They tend to hold up better to the chilling and reheating process."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:56 am

When you think about a scrumptious meal, airline food does not come to mind.

There are plenty of challenges to tasty airline meals, like the fact that many airlines now charge you for anything more than a tiny bag of chips and a plastic cup of non-alcoholic drink, at least on domestic flights. Plus, you can't cook on an airplane, so anything you're served has probably been chilled, then reheated. And flight delays certainly don't help with the freshness factor.

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The Salt
4:05 am
Sun December 22, 2013

Grasslands Get Squeezed As Another 1.6 Million Acres Go Into Crops

Retired farmer Joe Govert looks at a parcel of family land near Tribune, Kan. It has been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 5:59 pm

As the year winds down, we here at NPR are looking at a few key numbers that explain the big trends of 2013.

Today's number: 1.6 million.

That's 1.6 million acres — about the area of the state of Delaware.

That's how much land was removed this year from the federal Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, which pays farmers to keep land covered with native grasses or sometimes trees. Most of that land now will produce crops like corn or wheat.

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Movie Interviews
4:14 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

'The Invisible Woman': Charles Dickens' Muse And Mistress

Felicity Jones as Nelly Ternan
David Appleby Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 9:28 pm

Charles Dickens was a celebrity of the Victorian era. His books and plays continue to be celebrated around the world, particularly around Christmas. The new film, The Invisible Woman, focuses on a lesser-known part of his life — his relationship with a young woman named Nelly Ternan.

Felicity Jones plays the young mistress and muse, and Ralph Fiennes, who also directed the film, plays Dickens.

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Monkey See
3:42 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Last-Minute Gift Ideas For The Wild Cards On Your Shopping List

Don't be the bane of the Secret Santa pool this year.
Sharon Dominick iStockphoto

Ah, the holidays — a time for love and good cheer, for snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes. For full-blown panic attacks in department stores brought on by a particularly perplexing Secret Santa pick.

Fret no more: here at NPR Books, we believe that there's a perfect book out there for everyone on your holiday shopping list. And — lucky you! — we've made it easy to sort through this year's top releases to find just the right read.

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Monkey See
9:00 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Murderous Intent: Go Ahead, Kill That High-Profile TV Character

THEY KILLED BRIAN THE DOG! Oh, wait. Nevermind.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 10:42 am

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Books
8:04 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Today, Magazine's Kid Bylines Read Like 'Pulitzer Prize Roll Call'

According to Paul Collins, St. Nicholas Magazine boasted a list of kid contributors that today "reads like a Pulitzer Prize roll call."
Courtesy of Paul Collins

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:30 am

It sounds practically made up — a children's monthly magazine that published works by William Faulkner, E.B. White and Eudora Welty when they were just kids. But it's true.

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Books
7:59 am
Sat December 21, 2013

How To Organize A Bookshelf

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 11:12 am

Chances are, many of us will own a few more books after the holidays. But even if the books you have are carefully stored and cataloged, where do you put new ones?

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Asia
7:24 am
Sat December 21, 2013

World's Most Popular Film Industry Turns 100

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. You know, Americans often assume that Hollywood films are what the world watches most. But the world's most popular film industry features music, melodrama and spectacular dance moves that have become known by a single name: Bollywood.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Books
4:18 am
Sat December 21, 2013

The Brighter Side Of Darkness: For Some, The Night Inspires

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 12:13 pm

Saturday is the winter solstice — the longest night of the year. For many, winter's darkness is depressing. But others seem to bloom, thrive, even come alive in the dead of night.

It's not just vampires who seek the dark: it's poets, painters, musicians and artists of all kinds.

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Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
4:15 am
Sat December 21, 2013

The Crossword Turns 100 (Across): Celebrate By Playing Our Puzzle

John Chaneski

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:46 am

  • Hear Will Shortz Prove His Anagram Prowess On Ask Me Another

The first published crossword puzzle was printed on December 21, 1913, in the The New York World. It was written by Arthur Wynne, a British journalist who moved to the United States at age 19 and wound up in New York City. His puzzle, diamond-shaped and identified as a "Word-Cross," first appeared in the "Fun" section of the Sunday paper.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:58 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

'Queen Of Memphis Soul' Carla Thomas Plays Not My Job

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 1:14 pm

We recorded our show in Memphis, Tenn., this week, where Carla Thomas is a soul legend. Born in Memphis, Thomas scored her first hit single for Stax Records at the age of 18, and had many more, including duets with Otis Redding and other stars.

We've invited her to play a game called "Thomas, meet Thomas." Three questions about other people who are also named Thomas.

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Movie Interviews
4:42 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Ben Stiller, Spinning Daydreams In 'Walter Mitty'

Ben Stiller stars as a man who escapes his humdrum life by daydreaming in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which he also directed.
Wilson Webb Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — originally a two-page James Thurber story published in The New Yorker in 1939 — is about the reveries of a henpecked husband who became transformed, in his imagination, into an intrepid fighter pilot or a world-famous surgeon.

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Book Reviews
3:53 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

This British Spy Thriller Shows How Thrill-Less Spying Can Be

Then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte walks the hallways of the Threat Operations Center inside the National Security Agency in 2006.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:46 pm

Thanks to the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, a panel appointed by President Obama, the practice of spying has been thrust back into headlines this week. The panel recommended that the NSA should stop collecting nearly all phone records, suggesting that a third party take responsibility instead for the database of records.

Tapping phones, searching records, international intrigue — these acts are not new events unfolding with the NSA. In fact, all this espionage has been a staple in novel and film for the better part of a century.

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Architecture
1:35 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Makeover USA: Short, 'Dowdy' D.C. Considers High Heels

The skyline of Washington, D.C., including the Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and National Mall. The tall buildings in the distance are in Virginia.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 3:06 pm

The powers that be in Washington are typically, though certainly not always, wrestling with weighty issues.

Recently, they've also been debating height, and whether they prefer a stout, familiar dowager, or a taller, sleeker model.

Building heights, people: We're talking building heights in your nation's capital, where for more than a century the 1910 Building Height Act has kept the city's profile low.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:29 am
Fri December 20, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of December 19, 2013

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 1:13 pm

In time for winter celebrations, David Sedaris' essay collection Holidays on Ice rises to No. 12.

Shots - Health News
11:11 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Angelina Didn't Help Educate People About Breast Cancer Risk

A celebrity's efforts to educate the public about health risk may have very limited effects.
Evan Agostini AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:47 pm

Remember when Angelina Jolie decided to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer? The Hollywood star revealed her experience in The New York Times in May.

Her story got a lot of people talking about preventive mastectomies. But it didn't do much to increase people's understanding of breast cancer risk, a study found.

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Barbershop
11:07 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Fair To Hate 'Papa Duck' For Being Authentic?

The Barbershop guys weigh in on the Duck Dynasty dust-up: should television patriarch Phil Robertson be punished for anti-gay comments? Or should people be more tolerant of his views? Host Michel Martin hears from writer Jimi Izrael, and journalists Corey Dade, Ammad Omar and Christopher Ave.

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